Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
Leading the pack
Civil Eats takes us inside the food hub of the Brooklyn Packers, a worker-owned cooperative that’s building a local-food network of farms and food sellers made up largely of people of color.
Active since 2016, the Brooklyn Packers have long lacked their own space. Now, a new facility in the New York borough’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood is redefining what a food hub can be. It’s the focal point where food from Black- and Latino-owned businesses is sourced, packaged and distributed across Queens and Brooklyn. The idea is to draw on the idea of Black-led work leading toward self-determination and collective effort, as seen in previous generations. Relationships, within the cooperative and the community, are what allow the co-op to thrive.
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“This is a hyperlocal model that supports the people who live in the area,” said one restaurateur who works with the Packers. “How do we bring local economies closer together and make them more supportive to each other? That system that’s being created needs to be protected.”
How do you make people care about an industry that’s helping to save the oceans? Let them see it for themselves.
For decades, wild oysters in North Carolina declined due to over-harvesting, disease and habitat loss. But today they’re rebounding, in part thanks to oyster farming, which takes pressure off of wild oyster populations. More wild oysters means healthier oceans — oysters help to improve water quality by filtering algae, provide habitat for other marine species, and protect waterfront communities against storm surges.
The N.C. Oyster Trail offers North Carolinians a way to witness this success for themselves. The trail takes them from shellfish farms to raw bars, meeting the people who work in the industry along the way. “The more knowledge the public has about what we do, the better it’ll be for the industry,” said one oyster farmer. “The (N.C. Oyster Trail) helps us spread the word.”
Seeing the forest
Last week, the Biden administration announced that the U.S. will plant more than one billion trees across the American West to repair forests damaged by wildfires, insects and other symptoms of climate change.
The initiative will dramatically scale up the Forest Service’s area of focus on tree planting, from 60,000 acres to about 400,000. Overall, the Service will spend more than $100 million on reforestation this year, soon to increase to $260 million, using new planting techniques designed to keep forests from becoming overgrown and more susceptible to wildfire.
“Our forests, rural communities, agriculture and economy are connected across a shared landscape and their existence is at stake,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Only through bold, climate-smart actions … can we ensure their future.”